We want to share with you in more detail our efforts in relation to seeking out leading experts for advice, forging strategic alliances, and lobbying for your interests.

Experts

Negotiations

Your negotiation team sought out the expertise of Joe Swerdzewski, a former General Counsel of the FLRA, who served as a consultant. IFPTE provided International Representative David LaFemina as a bargaining team member. David brought critical experience, having already negotiated contracts in this “Executive Order” anti-union era.

Constitutional Claim

Your leadership also consulted with national leaders in relation to our inferior officer status post Lucia:

Alan Morrison, Constitutional scholar, George Washington University
Richard Pierce, Constitutional scholar, George Washington University
Gregory Ogden, Constitutional scholar, Pepperdine University

Judge Mincey and I sat down and discussed post-Lucia concerns with Mark Robbins, General Counsel, OPM. We also have engaged leaders of the ABA’s National Conference of Administrative Law Judiciary (NCALJ) and the Federal Administrative Law Judge Conference (FALJC) in discussions concerning our status as inferior officers.

Strategic Alliances

When the new board took office, we determined that it was critical to create stronger relationships with our allies. We have reached out to the ABA’s NCALJ, and Executive VP Judge Mincey is now a senior adviser to the organization. She and I will attend a portion of the ABA Annual Meeting as representatives of AALJ. The ABA is a respected leader in judicial concerns, and it is critical that your concerns are brought to the forefront. We met with an ABA lobbyist earlier this year to discuss our judicial independence concerns. We met with FALJC leaders, also to make sure that the unique concerns SSA ALJs face are a part of the dialogue of this organization, which lobbies Congress on behalf of all ALJs in the federal sector. We participate in a quarterly telephone meeting with the immigration judges’ union leadership as well as the Merit Systems Protection Board judges’ union leadership in order to engage on issues that impact us all.

Congressional Contacts

Your legislative committee chair, Gabrielle Vitellio, is advocating for your interests. She regularly speaks with Congressional staff members, as does our IFPTE legislative director Matt Biggs. I’ve included a list of only in-person meetings we have had with

Congressional members and their staff. This is over a six-month period of time:

Congressman Higgins (D-NY) with staff (Vitellio/Biggs) Congressman Courtney (D-CT) with Congressman (Boyd) Congresswoman Shalala (D-FL) with Congresswoman (McIntosh/Mincey/Evans/Holmes/Biggs)
Congresswoman Shalala (D-FL) with staff  (Vitellio/Evans)
Congressman Lamb (D-PA) with Congressman (Vitellio/Holmes/McIntosh) Senator Collins (R-ME) with staff (Vitellio/Biggs)
Senator Graham (R-SC) with staff (McIntosh/Mincey)
Senator Rubio (R-FL) with general counsel (McIntosh/Mincey/Biggs) Senator Grassley (R-IA) with staff (Vitellio/Biggs)
Congressman Quigley (D-IL) with staff (Vitellio/Biggs)
Congressman Takano (D-CA) with chief-of-staff (McIntosh/Mincey/Biggs) Congressman Price (D-NC) with Congressman (McIntosh/Martin) Congresswoman Adams (D-NC) with staff (McIntosh/Martin) Congressman Butterfield (D-NC) with staff  (McIntosh/Martin)
House Oversight & Gov’t Reform Committee (Chair Cummings D-MD) with staff (McIntosh/Mincey/Biggs)
House Federal Workforce Committee (Chair Connolly D-VA) with staff (McIntosh/Mincey/Biggs)
Senator Cardin (D-MD) and Senator Van Hollen (D-MD) with staff (Biggs) Senate Committee on Finance (Chair Grassley R-IA) meeting with staff director (Mincey/Evans/Biggs)
Senate Committee on Finance with Democratic staff director (McIntosh/Mincey/Holmes/Evans)
Senator Brown (D-OH), with staff (Vitellio/Evans) Congresswoman DeLauro (D-CN) with Congresswoman  (Boyd)
House Social Security Sub-committee (Chair Larson, D-CT) with staff (Evans/Holmes/Mincey/McIntosh/Biggs)
Senator Cantwell (D-WA) with staff (Biggs/Vitellio)
House Education & Labor Committee (Chair Scott D-VA) with staff (McIntosh/Mincey/Biggs)
Congresswoman Kaptur (D-OH) with staff (Vitellio/Evans/Biggs) Congressman Pascrell (D-NJ) with staff (Vitellio/Biggs) Congressman Jordan (R-OH) with staff (Vitellio/Evans)

Inferior Officer Information

We will soon have a town hall meeting on inferior officer status. Until that time, please find Judge Mincey’s initial legal memorandum on our inferior officer status here, as well as a question and answer sheet she has prepared here.

Bad  Faith Bargaining Grievance

We have filed a bad faith bargaining grievance with the agency. You can read it here. The video I prepared on the negotiations is available on our homepage of AALJ.org under 2019 CBA Negotiations. You can find other information about the negotiations there.

I was interviewed by Government Executive yesterday. You can read the article here.

As we go through the process of fighting for our union and our judicial independence, I want to thank you for your many supportive emails and your encouragement. We really must be united now. In difficult times, organizations can grow stronger and it’s my belief that we can do just that.

Melissa McIntosh
AALJ President